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Fibromyalgia Basics

 

You wake up in the morning feeling like every muscle in your body hurts. That all too familiar feeling of exhaustion is overwhelming you again. But when you visit your 

doctor, all the tests come up negative. You're really beginning to worry that it's all in your head.

Before you decide that you're a hypochondriac, consider one more alternative. You might be suffering from fibromyalgia, a disease that is becoming increasingly more prevalent. More women than men develop it and its symptoms vary widely from person to person. 

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by generalized pain that settles in your muscles, ligaments and tendons. Additionally, your body has certain spots that are tender to the touch for no apparent reason. And to top it off you feel fatigued most of the time.

Previously known as fibrositis, chronic muscle pain syndrome, tension myalgias and even psychogenic rheumatism, fibromyalgia isn't life-threatening. Nor are its symptoms progressive, that is, they won't get worse as you age. But the bad news is that the symptoms will never completely go away.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia not only vary from person to person, but your own symptoms can fluctuate depending on such factors as the weather, the amount of stress in your life, your level of activity, and even as something as trivial as the time of day. But there are a few signs and symptoms that can help you identify your pain as that of fibromyalgia.

First, if you feel the pain in just about all parts of your body, it's very possible that you may have fibromyalgia. When you apply pressure to certain areas of your body, like the back or your head or your upper back, you feel pain. This is a good indication it might be fibromyalgia. Accompanied by a general stiffness, this pain can lasts for months.

Fatigue. Sleep disturbances. You wake up tired and you never seem to get enough sleep, even though you get more than enough sleep. Some researchers believe that these symptoms are due to an interrupted sleep pattern. Deep sleep is virtually impossible because it's frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity that resembles being awake.

If you have fibromyalgia, you may also be plagued with irritable bowel syndrome. It's not uncommon to experience the constipation, diarrhea, bloating and the uncomfortable abdominal pain of IBS—as if you needed any more pain!

You may also be experiencing facial pain that very well may be related to the tenderness or the stiffness in your neck and shoulders. Those individuals who complain of fibromyalgia may experience frequent headaches as well as temporomandibular joint dysfunction – usually abbreviated as TMJ. This pain affects the jaw joints as well as the surrounding muscles.

Those individuals dealing with fibromyalgia also experience a heightened sensitivity. it's not uncommon for those with fibromyalgia to report that their senses work so much better than normal. They can smell odors better, bright lights are brighter than normal and they are more sensitive to touch.

 

Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

 

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Greg Cryns
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